"Mom showed me your draft visitation order, Dad. I saw that it called for me to be at your house every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I think it should only list every other Saturday. I'll come over more, but Mom said it's easier to get more time later than to try to visit less often once an order is in place. That's over 150 days, almost half the year. That's too much to commit to, because I might have stuff to do."
We were at a restaurant about a month after Sharon had taken our three children out of the house on a pretext, demanded that I leave before she would return with them and then filed for divorce. This was my second meal with my child since then. In a month, I could count the number of hours I had spent with him on one hand.
"Unfortunately you're a minor, son, and you're not allowed to set the schedule, or even supposed to see the draft pleadings being exchanged. It's not close to being half the time because it's only every other Friday evening to Sunday evening. And if you have places to go, I'll take you there. After all, I live only two miles away, in your boyhood home, and everyone will have their own bedrooms again."
"Well, she said since it affected me I should have a say in it. She said you'd be like this. Why won't you respect my wishes?"
This is one way PAS is perpetrated, wherein the custodial parent alienates the child from the targeted parent by convincing the adolescent that the other parent is too rigid or inflexible or controlling or domineering or uncaring (choose whatever word you'd like) to respect the desires of the child. The draft schedule, which never should have been shown to him, called for visitation every other weekend from 6 p.m. Friday to 8 p.m. on Sunday, 50 hours, which represents 14.9% of the 336 hours every two weeks.
This child nevermore stayed over at my house. His counselor, Meg Sullivan, LCSW, also counseled his Mother. I didn't know about this until after the divorce litigation began. It took over a year for a judge to order this grotesque conflict to cease.
During the divorce litigation, my son told people he was "afraid" to be in my presence, especially when he spoke with me because of my "tone." This isn't the way boys speak. (Another son, an All-Star football player, told people he would never play sports again because I had "crushed" his "spirit." As the story went, he told me that he had scored a touchdown and before I praised him, I'd asked if his team had won. Apparently, this had "crushed his spirit.")
During the custody trial, my minor children had faxed a letter to the Judge's chambers stating their custodial preferences. This isn't the way children act.
My son never went to college. He changed his name to her name on his 21st birthday. He hasn't communicated with any relative of mine in over half a decade. He lives in a basement bedroom in her vacant house, which is currently on the market.
PAS, a form of child abuse, is alive and thriving in this country.